by Jean-Marc Alma-Charlery

His name is (or was) Daniel. I wrote “is or was”, because I don’t know if he is still alive. Let us make it easy, let us say “was”.

Daniel was a Rastafari from Martinique. My neighbor. He adopted the Rastafari culture when he was 15. One year before my cousin Alex, and 2 years before my other cousin Jean-Michel. They stopped eating meat, started to grow their own vegetables. Their hair started to grow. Alex said: “No iron should touch this air.”
Contrary to Daniel, Alex and Jean-Michel had the privilege to have their own land. In Martinique, owning land is no big deal, as most people have the legacy of their parents. Not like Black Americans.
The three of them used to sell their own products. fruits, vegetables, wooden jewels and toys. And listen to Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Burning Spears…

One day, Daniel went to Germany, invited to a fair, to show his art. He stayed there for 5 years. He was there at Bob Marley’s last concert. He met his wife there. A blond woman, who also had dreadlocks. They got very successful in business. She was an artist too. She used to make wooden jewels. They got two girls and one boy. The boy is still a rastafari and has his shop in Fort-de-France. The two girls decided to study. Both studied in Germany and one is a doctor and the other one is international lawyer

Back to my cousin, whose wife is rastafari too. White.
We used to talk about who should wear dreadlocks. And he said to me: “Everyone who wants and wishes to do it. It doesn’t belong to Rasta People. We adopted it and made it a way of living, but we are not the owner of a culture. Culture is above humans. We belong to it and no one should claim something that doesn’t belong to him. Some people are born in it, others adopt it.”

But at the end, the Rastafari culture is alive thanks to all those black, white and Chinese people who bought Bob Marley’s music all over the world, all those people who saw in Bob Marley another way to live life.

Culture is about this: you like it, you adOpt it, you promote it, you adApt it, you make it evolve. If not, it will disappear and the only people who will talk about it are some amateur people, mostly black American writers, who think that they have any divine duty to claim who should own something which is beyond people.

Because Americans are like this. They think that they have a divine right on everything.
But the only people who really appropriate culture are the ones who criticize it. Because the only idea to put together appropriation and culture is trying to give to a community something which is above this community and where the community has a NOT exclusive right to use.

Let us not accept anybody to tell the humanity who has to adopt a culture. Especially American people and mostly those dictator black American writers in Medium. Because the only thing they do is to keep the culture from spreading, evolving. They kill the culture. They suffocate culture into a supposed ownership. Most of the time when they do not even belong to the culture they want to “defend”.

Because as Americans, it is their daily job. Rule the world the way they want, and make people think that it is their divine purpose.

It is weird to read that some people come here to criticise which dress you have to put on, which hairstyle you have to use, which hat you have to wear and which dance you have to dance and which music you have to play.

But those hypocrits, those endoctrinators, those liars and dictators are not stupid, because they know the limits and whe are coward enough to understand that the main variables of culture which are language and religion are beyond their absurd speech. Because it is easy to come to tell people what they should wear. But won’t have the bravery to tell people which language they have to speak or tell to a converted muslim or converted jew that he shouldn’t appropriate the religion or the language.

Because you cannot wear this, or that, because it belongs to a culture, but you can convert into Islam or Judaism or Budhism, even if it belongs to another culture. “Let us change the rules when we want.

Worse, the same people who talk about cultural appropriation cheer and find fantastic a black little Mermaid, based on a story from the North of Europe.


Culture belongs to no one. We belong to it, and we are just its users. Let us respect it and not try to control it. It was there before us and will be there depending on who wants to show it to humanity. By using it, by teaching it, by making it evolve and by adapting it. Otherwise, it will be forgotten and will disappear from the humanity.

Jean-Marc Alma-Charlery
Owner of

Think deeper, think further, think global

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